Rider: Daryl Ecklund
Location: Los Angeles County Raceway
Date: April 1, 2015
Photographer: John Basher
Camera: Canon 1D Mark III
Lens: 300mm f/2.8 IS II
Exposure: 1/1250 sec.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: NICK SCHMIDT
Click here to read the full interview.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: MATRIX CONCEPTS 2016 M64 ELITE STAND
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The M64 Stand can be purchased from your local dealership or on the Matrix Concepts website. http://www.matrixracingproducts.com/m64-elite-motorcycle-stand/
HOW DUNGEY CAN CLINCH THIS WEEKEND
Let’s assume that Ryan Dungey will finish on the podium. He’s done so 30 races in a row, after all. Instead, the question centers around what Dungey will need to do in Foxborough this weekend in order to wrap up his third 450 Supercross title two rounds early. Ryan Dungey currently holds a 48-point lead. He will need to leave Massachusetts with a 50-point advantage in order to clinch the title. Below is a list of scenarios that need to happen for Ryan to take the title and collect a cool $1 million bonus (at least) from KTM.
1. Ryan Dungey must finish ahead of Ken Roczen. None of the following scenarios matter if Dungey can’t beat Roczen in Foxborough.
2. If Dungey wins Foxborough then it doesn’t matter where Roczen finishes. Dungey clinches.
3. If Dungey finishes second and Roczen finishes third, he’ll have a 50 point lead with two rounds remaining. He will clinch the title based on race wins (eight to Kenny’s three main event victories), thanks to the tiebreaker rule.
4. The same scenario occurs as the one above if Dungey finishes third and Roczen scores fourth.
5. As long as Dungey scores at least two more points than Roczen at Foxborough then he clinches.
JOHN’S GARAGE: YAMAHA YZ125 BUILD
The garage is a special place. You know that. I know it, too. Yours might be filled with all of the latest motocross merchandise to make your scoot go quasar-fast and leap tall buildings with the single blip of the throttle. My garage used to be like that, but I made several lifestyle changes that warranted a few garage cleanings. First, I had a kid. Gone went the parts that had been shoved in some dark corner of my man space. The wife needed room for boxes of maternity clothes. I didn’t mind parting ways with the junk, because when would I need a set of triple clamps for a 2009 YZ450F? Then came baby number two, and another section of my garage space evaporated like ice water on the Serengeti. Extra plastics and slightly worn stock sprockets went to the nearest dump, the empty space soon occupied by extra baby toys.
I thought I was in the clear after two kids, but then I had the bright idea to uproot my family and move from California to North Carolina. My wife and I put our house up for sale, and I spent the next two weeks rummaging through crates of bike parts and the like. I had to fit our lives into a 16-foot trailer. My dear bride packed up wedding albums and momentous from the kids. Those things had to go…in the trailer, that is. As the days passed the space grew impossibly small, and I had to find creative ways to fit as much motocross stuff as I could. There wasn’t any chance that I would get rid of my Yamaha YZ125 parts. Fortunately, my lady is a kind-hearted soul. We threw away some things we probably should have kept just so I could fit in a set of Dubya wheels, exhaust pipe and carbon fiber silencer, triple clamps, tires, brakes and handlebars for a bike I didn’t actually own. However, I held out hope that somehow I would get a YZ125.
The gamble paid off. Now I have a Yamaha YZ125, and it’s quickly becoming a stunning representation of the ultimate two-stroke bike. Sure, there are better YZ125s out there–Brett Koufas from ICW Radiators has a great machine, and the blacked-out custom wing-dinger that Tony Jeske from Jeske MX Customs built is ridiculously cool looking. Having said that, it’s not like I can go ride their bikes any time I want (although I know that Brett from ICW, who lives a few hours away, wouldn’t care).
This past week I buttoned up my YZ125, thanks with the help of dear old dad (who is turning another year older tomorrow–Happy Birthday, big guy!). My dad installed a Vertex top-end kit, adjusted the jetting to MXA’s recommended specs using Wiseco’s massive carburetor jetting kits, and put on a Sunstar MXR1 chain. I focused on swapping the shifter for a Torc1 Reaction shifter, and installed a FasstCo brake clevis and rear brake clevis, Works Connection goodies, and restyled Cycra Racing plastics. The guys at Cycra Racing were overly kind for sending an all-blue set, as well as an all-black set of plastics. I opted for the all-black look, although I’ll mix and match the colors before the bike is readied for the test. Oh, and I should be getting a set of Kayaba PSF-1 A-Kit suspension from my new best friend, Ron Hinson, who imports Kayaba suspension from Europe. It will be like Christmas morning when the delivery guy drops off the trick suspension. That day can’t come soon enough.
On Saturday I decided to take the bike to North Carolina Motorsports Park in Henderson, NC, for its maiden voyage. I could hardly contain my excitement, although it was hard on the three-hour drive north toward the Virginia border. The YZ125 was ready to go, although that wasn’t the case a day before. The float was stuck in the Mikuni carburetor, so my dad went through the carb while I was finishing up magazine work. He stopped the carburetor from leaking gas out of the vent hose. Things were looking up when I arrived at the track and looked at the bed of my truck. There wasn’t a pool of gasoline under where the YZ125 had been tied down. That was a good sign.
My YZ125 started on the third kick. I rode it through the pits and toward the amateur Supercross track. And then? Nothing. The bike died. I thought the worse. I’m not generally a pessimistic person, but my dad wasn’t sure if he had installed both circlips in the piston. When the bike stopped running and wouldn’t fire again I nearly had a heart attack. That feeling was magnified as I labored to push my bike back to the pits.
After catching my breath I started troubleshooting. There wasn’t any spark, at least my 34-year-old eyes couldn’t see any. Eureka! Brett from ICW Radiators supplied a new spark plug and asked what was going on with the bike. I figured the spark plug was a dud and replaced it. However, the bike still wouldn’t fire. Brett took the bike off the stand and proceeded to lay it down to make sure there was gas in the carb. Guess what? Not a drop came from the overflow. Oops. It turned out that my dad had set the float to the point that there wasn’t enough gas getting into the carb. An honest mistake. Cal Northrop from FTI Suspension was on hand to adjust the float level. Everything was roses from that point forward.
I called my dad on the drive home and told him the news. He apologized, although he didn’t have to. Dad could have forgotten to put in the circlips and I wouldn’t have cared too much. The problem was resolved and I was able to ride my prized YZ125. Equally great is that since my bike build is far from finished, I’ll get more garage time with my dad. It has been a fun ride thus far, and it’s only going to get better.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: NIHILO CONCEPTS ONE PIECE TITANIUM FOOTPEGS
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MINI-VIEW: SHAE BENTLEY
Shae, you’re training kids and run a facility. How do you run your program? I have everything structured so that riders can stay and have everything they need at my facility, but also have several other tracks close by. I truly want the best for the kids I train. I want them to know that dreams do come true, and having a goal is important. By no means am I a babysitter, either. I also go out of my way to help kids with bike setup. You can only go as fast as your bike will allow you to go. Each person is different.
What did you learn about the sport after retiring? The day you quit racing is the day your phone stops ringing. Other riders have told me the same thing. I’m very fortunate to be still very close with Timmy Ferry, Ezra Lusk, and Matt Walker–even though I feel like he does some things for himself. He has an immaculate place. I actually had an offer to buy it before he did, but I wasn’t in my right mind back then.
Do you still ride? My body knows what to do, but connecting from my brain to my body doesn’t happen fast enough. It makes it a lot harder to ride. I can’t focus enough to ride a full lap, but I can hit corners and go trail riding.
Can you tell me something that most people don’t know about you? Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to be a professional motorcycle rider. I always wanted to be BMX racer. When I was young I practiced once a week! Fortunately, dreams do come true.
INSIDE LOOK: NORTH CAROLINA MOTORSPORTS PARK
Located outside Henderson, North Carolina, NCMP is an impressive facility. With four tracks of varying degrees in difficulty, there’s something for everyone. The main track is nearly two miles long and has a variety of obstacles. A tabletop to uphill triple step-up to double is the track’s centerpiece, requiring a certain amount of bravado to complete. However, my part of the main track is the soft loamy ruts that form. From 180-degree turns to wide open and loose sweepers, NCMP has the goods. Slight elevation changes compliment a track that, in some ways, reminded me of Competitive Edge in Southern California. There were far fewer jumps, and the obstacle difficulty level was lessened in comparison to what is traditionally found in SoCal, but that’s part of NCMP’s charm. There’s something to be said for building a track with safety and fun in mind.
For the less daring, there’s also a practice track geared toward Beginner and Novice riders. Less than half the length of the main track, the practice track has some tabletops, singles and quite a few 180-degree turns. What’s great about NCMP is that the owners separated the two tracks completely to avoid confusion. I noticed how some riders parked at the practice track and rode it all day long. They were happy in their element.
If you are into jumping, then take a look at NCMP’s Nite-X Amateur Supercross track. It has a forgiving design, meaning that you won’t need to be able to qualify for the night show at Anaheim 1 in order to ride the track. I didn’t spend any time on the Supercross track because, quite frankly, it’s a bit unnerving to jump doubles when you’re trying to make sure that a bike is going to stay together. My track record with motorcycles hasn’t been good lately.
Finally, there’s a pee-wee track for little Johnny. Overall, there are four different opportunities to twist the throttle and get your thrills. While the track is three hours away from where I currently live, it’s worth the drive. That’s especially true when hanging out with good buddies like Brett Koufas from ICW Radiators, Glen Laivins from Cycra Racing, Scott Highland from CV Products and Cal Northrop from FTI Suspension. Sometimes the track makes all the difference in a good riding day, while other times it’s the company. On Saturday I was blessed with the best of both worlds.
For more information, visit www.ncmp.net. They have an aerial video of the track on their site. North Carolina Motorsports Park is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is only a short drive from the Virginia border. It costs $30 at the gate if you’re not a member, and camping is $10 a night.
FUN FACT: REACTION TIME
St. Louis was a first for two riders–Ken Roczen and Jeremy Martin. Both secured the holeshot in their respective classes. Martin streaked away from the field in the 250 main, scoring his second main event victory and closing the points gap (aided by a crash-filled night by Malcolm Stewart). As for Roczen, he was oh-so-close to knocking off Ryan Dungey, but a front end wash-out on lap 12 eradicated any chance Kenny had of collecting the win.
THE FASTEST OF THE FAST
An ongoing list of the top qualifiers and holeshot winners from each round of the 2016 AMA Supercross Championship
All photos by Scott Mallonee
FASTEST QUALIFIERS: 450 CLASS
Anaheim 1…Trey Canard
San Diego 1…Ryan Dungey
Anaheim 2…Ken Roczen
San Diego 2…Eli Tomac
Santa Clara…Eli Tomac
St. Louis…Eli Tomac
FASTEST QUALIFIERS: 250 CLASS
Anaheim 1…Cooper Webb
San Diego 1…Cooper Webb
Anaheim 2…Zach Osborne
San Diego 2…Zach Osborne
Santa Clara…Cooper Webb
St. Louis…Malcolm Stewart
HOLESHOT AWARD: 450 CLASS
Anaheim 1…Cole Seely
San Diego 1…Chad Reed
Anaheim 2…Davi Millsaps
San Diego 2…Ryan Dungey
Santa Clara…Jason Anderson
St. Louis…Ken Roczen
HOLESHOT AWARD: 250 CLASS
Anaheim 1…Jessy Nelson (West)
San Diego 1…Jordan Smith (West)
Anaheim 2…Jimmy Decotis (West)
Oakland…Christian Craig (West)
Glendale…Jimmy Decotis (West)
San Diego 2…Jordan Smith (West)
Arlington…Christian Craig (West)
Atlanta…Shane McElrath (East)
Daytona…Malcolm Stewart (East)
Toronto…Matt Bisceglia (East)
Detroit…Aaron Plessinger (East)
Santa Clara…Zach Osborne (West)
Indianapolis…Gannon Audette (East)
St. Louis…Jeremy Martin (East)